Reconciliation

Due to current restrictions, If you wish to see a priest for Confession, please send us an email to book a time. holy.family@rogers.com

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the most unique and beautiful aspects of Catholicism. Jesus Christ, in His abundant love and mercy, established the Sacrament of Confession, so that we as sinners can obtain forgiveness for our sins and reconcile with God and the Church. The sacrament “washes us clean,” and renews us in Christ...

We have curated below a selection of videos & resources to help you understand and prepare for the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Why should I go to Confession?

Jesus Christ, in His abundant love and mercy, established the Sacrament of Confession, so that we as sinners can obtain forgiveness for our sins and reconcile with God and the Church. The sacrament “washes us clean,” and renews us in Christ. When we give God the chance to forgive us through his priests in the confessional, we find a renewed peace and strength.

But I've got more questions...

Why do Catholics confess to a priest? Can't they just go straight to Jesus? Can't we just pray to God for forgiveness? If you're Catholic and don't know the answer, or if you're not sure why Catholics do this, check out these straight-shot explanations...

How can I make a Good Confession?

If you've ever wondered how to make a good confession, Fr. Mike Schmitz has some solid advice for you. He points out that preparing for a good confession starts when we recognize that being a "good person” in our own eyes is not enough—we are called to holiness, which is something much greater. It's important to examine our conscience so that our experience of reconciliation moves us towards that holiness to which we are called.

Steps to Confession...

– Examine your conscience.
– Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
– Confess your sins to a priest.
– Resolve to amend your life.
– Do the penance the priest assigns.
If it’s been a while (or even a very long while) since you last confession, these simple videos can help walk you through it… 

Preparing for Confession...

Here are some quick guidelines from Fr Mark-Mary on how you should make an examination of conscience: It should be prayerful: separate yourself from distractions and prayerfully examine your day, week, or life since your last confession. Ask the Lord for his guidance. It should be thorough, but not exhaustive: you don’t have to sit there and think of every second of your day, but if your mind is hitting a particular moment or situation, examine what temptations or difficulties were present in that moment and how it could have been better. 

Frequently Asked Questions from the Archdiocese of Toronto

  • When is it nece​ssary for me to go Confession?
  • What if after receiving the Holy Eucharist I became aware of some sins that I failed to confess?
  • Can a priest reveal what has heard to others?
  • What if I feel nervous about going to Confession? Or what if I haven't gone to Confession for many years?
  • I have difficulty in memorizing the Act of Contrition by heart in the confessional …
  • Can someone be forgiven of the sin of abortion?
  • May I receive the sacrament if I'm divorced?
  • Can my sins be forgiven outside of the sacrament?
  • Must a child receive this Sacrament before he/she can receive First Holy Eucharist?
  • When should a child start going to Reconciliation (Confession)?
  • Is it the school's responsibility to prepare the children for this Sacrament?
  • How can we, the parents, help our children prepare for this Sacrament?
By this beautiful Sacrament God gives all sinful members of His Church, "a direct, human, and personal encounter with the mercy of God" as found in the Gospel. [1] (CCC: 1446) In this encounter "God, the Father of mercies" pardons His faithful for post-baptism sins that they confessed to the bishop or his priests. (CCC: 1448-1449). In the liturgical actions of this sacrament, especially in the formula of absolution, Jesus Christ reaches out to us in the depth of our soul and mind to lift us to our feet, and restores us to be more perfectly what we are: His saints, the reconciled children of God. He does so "to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship Him without fear, holy and righteous in His sight all the days of our life" (Luke 1.73).[2]
The essential elements of the sacrament of Reconciliation are two: the acts of the penitent who comes to repentance through the action of the Holy Spirit, and the absolution of the priest who in the name of Christ grants forgiveness and determines the ways of making satisfaction.
[1] Thomas Cardinal Collins, Cornerstones of Faith. Reconciliation, Eucharist and Stewardship (Toronto, Canada: Novalis, 2013), p. 14.
[2] Cf. the Canticle of Zechariah, adopted by the Liturgy of the Hours.​
You must go to Confession at your earliest opportunity.
No. "It is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason." This is called "confessional seal". (Code of Canon Law: c. 983 § 1.)
True contrition turns one to God and the Church in the sacrament (CCC: 1453-1454). Simply go to the confessional prayerfully in the faith when you are ready, by telling a priest what sins you are sorry for with all your heart. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (1 Jn 4.18). Recall, for example, the reassuring story of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke (15:11-32) and the embrace of the loving father. If necessary, speak to your pastor, and he will be able to guide you in your preparation.
Bring a copy of it with you to the confessional. Sometimes pastors have a copy ready. It is important that you understand the prayer. It is not meant to be a memory test. Express it in your own words when your memory of it fails. You can always ask a priest to help you.
Yes. Pope John Paul II once addressed people in this situation:
"The Church is aware of the many factors that may have influenced your decision, and She does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong, but do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation." (Evangelium Vitae, 99.)
If you find yourself in this situation, please include it in your next sacramental Confession.
It is possible that you may receive the sacrament, but you may wish to consult your pastor first who would be able to speak to your particular situation. Generally speaking, one may receive the sacrament if they are civilly divorced but have not remarried or were validly married in the Church after receiving a declaration of nullity for their first marriage.
In the sacrament God in his unbound mercy reconciles a contrite person not only to Himself, but also to the Church, through the ministry of priests. In Baptism God washed away all your sins. For post-baptismal sins, the members of the Catholic Church are bound by the sacrament as "the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession" (CCC: 1484).
The Church teaches that it is “the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental Confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible” [Code of Canon Law, c. 914]. The same canon of the Code of Canon Law teaches that it is “for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach Holy Communion”. In the Archdiocese of Toronto, it is normative that children and adults preparing to receive Holy Communion for the first time also participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation beforehand, as a means to prepare themselves most appropriately, and to inculcate a desire for Reconciliation throughout their life.
In consultation with the pastor, a child normally starts going to Confession as he/she prepares for First Holy Communion and after he/she has received instruction (catechesis) on this sacrament from the parish.
No, the preparation for this Sacrament is the parish's responsibility. However, children often receive instruction in our Catholic schools.
This is a very important question that requires constant turning to Christ's presence especially in the Sacraments. Like every child, every family is unique. Parents are privileged teachers of the faith in the family, and this profound privilege requires you to 'walk the talk'. Active participation at Mass on Sundays is always essential. In consultation with your parish, these ideas may help if you do them: being present at your children's parish preparation when appropriate; going to Confession regularly; praying for and with your children and bless them; loving the Church, the people of God, publicly and privately. ​
  • When is it nece​ssary for me to go Confession?
  • What if after receiving the Holy Eucharist I became aware of some sins that I failed to confess?
  • Can a priest reveal what has heard to others?
  • What if I feel nervous about going to Confession? Or what if I haven't gone to Confession for many years?
  • I have difficulty in memorizing the Act of Contrition by heart in the confessional …
  • Can someone be forgiven of the sin of abortion?
  • May I receive the sacrament if I'm divorced?
  • Can my sins be forgiven outside of the sacrament?
  • Must a child receive this Sacrament before he/she can receive First Holy Eucharist?
  • When should a child start going to Reconciliation (Confession)?
  • Is it the school's responsibility to prepare the children for this Sacrament?
  • How can we, the parents, help our children prepare for this Sacrament?
By this beautiful Sacrament God gives all sinful members of His Church, "a direct, human, and personal encounter with the mercy of God" as found in the Gospel. [1] (CCC: 1446) In this encounter "God, the Father of mercies" pardons His faithful for post-baptism sins that they confessed to the bishop or his priests. (CCC: 1448-1449). In the liturgical actions of this sacrament, especially in the formula of absolution, Jesus Christ reaches out to us in the depth of our soul and mind to lift us to our feet, and restores us to be more perfectly what we are: His saints, the reconciled children of God. He does so "to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship Him without fear, holy and righteous in His sight all the days of our life" (Luke 1.73).[2]
The essential elements of the sacrament of Reconciliation are two: the acts of the penitent who comes to repentance through the action of the Holy Spirit, and the absolution of the priest who in the name of Christ grants forgiveness and determines the ways of making satisfaction.
[1] Thomas Cardinal Collins, Cornerstones of Faith. Reconciliation, Eucharist and Stewardship (Toronto, Canada: Novalis, 2013), p. 14.
[2] Cf. the Canticle of Zechariah, adopted by the Liturgy of the Hours.​
You must go to Confession at your earliest opportunity.
No. "It is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason." This is called "confessional seal". (Code of Canon Law: c. 983 § 1.)
True contrition turns one to God and the Church in the sacrament (CCC: 1453-1454). Simply go to the confessional prayerfully in the faith when you are ready, by telling a priest what sins you are sorry for with all your heart. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (1 Jn 4.18). Recall, for example, the reassuring story of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke (15:11-32) and the embrace of the loving father. If necessary, speak to your pastor, and he will be able to guide you in your preparation.
Bring a copy of it with you to the confessional. Sometimes pastors have a copy ready. It is important that you understand the prayer. It is not meant to be a memory test. Express it in your own words when your memory of it fails. You can always ask a priest to help you.
Yes. Pope John Paul II once addressed people in this situation:
"The Church is aware of the many factors that may have influenced your decision, and She does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong, but do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation." (Evangelium Vitae, 99.)
If you find yourself in this situation, please include it in your next sacramental Confession.
It is possible that you may receive the sacrament, but you may wish to consult your pastor first who would be able to speak to your particular situation. Generally speaking, one may receive the sacrament if they are civilly divorced but have not remarried or were validly married in the Church after receiving a declaration of nullity for their first marriage.
In the sacrament God in his unbound mercy reconciles a contrite person not only to Himself, but also to the Church, through the ministry of priests. In Baptism God washed away all your sins. For post-baptismal sins, the members of the Catholic Church are bound by the sacrament as "the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession" (CCC: 1484).
The Church teaches that it is “the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental Confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible” [Code of Canon Law, c. 914]. The same canon of the Code of Canon Law teaches that it is “for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach Holy Communion”. In the Archdiocese of Toronto, it is normative that children and adults preparing to receive Holy Communion for the first time also participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation beforehand, as a means to prepare themselves most appropriately, and to inculcate a desire for Reconciliation throughout their life.
In consultation with the pastor, a child normally starts going to Confession as he/she prepares for First Holy Communion and after he/she has received instruction (catechesis) on this sacrament from the parish.
No, the preparation for this Sacrament is the parish's responsibility. However, children often receive instruction in our Catholic schools.
This is a very important question that requires constant turning to Christ's presence especially in the Sacraments. Like every child, every family is unique. Parents are privileged teachers of the faith in the family, and this profound privilege requires you to 'walk the talk'. Active participation at Mass on Sundays is always essential. In consultation with your parish, these ideas may help if you do them: being present at your children's parish preparation when appropriate; going to Confession regularly; praying for and with your children and bless them; loving the Church, the people of God, publicly and privately. ​

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Fr. Mike Schmitz speaks powerfully about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, debunking the lies we often believe about not being good enough to approach Jesus, and uses Scripture to explain why we go to priests to encounter God’s mercy and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Confession.
Forgiven explores the grace and healing offered in Confession and shows how this sacrament of mercy reveals the depth and bounty of God’s love. By looking at God’s revelation of his mercy in Scripture and making a step-by-step examination of the Rite itself, Forgiven communicates God’s invitation to each one of us to come experience his indescribable love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Dr. Scott Hahn presents the historical and biblical origins of the Sacrament of Penance. He provides an important guide for new Catholics, a source of renewal for "old hands," and a challenge to all of us to deepen our relationship with Christ by frequenting the Sacrament of Penance.
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